Leading Environment, Climate, and Nature Groups unite with solar sector in common call for sustainable solar acceleration

5 December 2022

Read the full statement


Brussels, BELGIUM (Monday 5th December 2022): Today, Birdlife Europe and Central Asia, CEE Bankwatch Network, CAN Europe, the European Environmental Bureau, EuroNatur, and SolarPower Europe have published a joint statement on the acceleration of sustainable solar.


In light of the significant REPowerEU provisions on solar, the consortium of energy and environment actors have put forward common cornerstones for a nature-friendly energy transition, which maximises citizen participation.


The consortium sets out seven key asks to be considered in current EU discussions, to ensure both speed and quality of future solar projects: 


  1. Safeguard a minimum 45% renewables target for 2030 and aim for higher to be in line with the Paris Agreement
  2. Swiftly designate priority areas of lower environmental impact for a quick roll-out of PV
  3. Allocate sufficient and trained staff for permit-granting at local and national levels
  4. Simplify procedures, especially for building-integrated PV
  5. Make the grid an essential element of planning and permit-granting
  6. Ensure the implementation of existing environmental legislation
  7. Involve citizens and local communities in the energy transition


Ariel Brunner, Deputy Director and Head of Policy BirdLife Europe and Central Asia, said; “Solar power needs a massive ramp-up. Making the energy transition a success requires speeding up licensing without compromising on actual safeguards for people and biodiversity. What we need are rapid planning and well-resourced licensing authorities. Blunt deregulation risks backfiring and playing into the hands of those opposed to renewable energy.”


Mark Martin, Executive Director, CEE Bankwatch Network commented; “It's clear that the EU needs to rapidly deploy renewable energy, but this cannot be at the expense of nature or without public participation. The biodiversity and climate crises are closely linked and have to be tackled together. Solar will play a leading role in this effort.”


Seda Orhan, Renewable Energy Campaign Coordinator, CAN Europe commented;"Before the end of this decade, we will need a radical transformation of our energy system, an energy system that should receive at least a half of its supply primarily from solar and wind power while putting people participation and biodiversity protection at its heart. For this transformation to be a success, it will require climate, energy and biodiversity policies to be looked at holistically, and to reinforce each other." 


Cosimo Tansini, Policy Officer for Renewable Energy at the EEB said; “A faster roll-out of solar energy installations can be achieved by guiding development in combination with nature protection and public participation. The faster uptake of additional solar energy capacity is fundamental to enable local communities to play an active role in Europe’s energy transition.”


Bruna Campos, Senior Policy Manager at EuroNatura stated; "Placing solar panels, especially on buildings, needs to be accelerated in Europe to mitigate against climate change. Accelerating solar energy does not need to be detrimental to nature; these can go hand in hand if appropriate environmental legislation and procedures are followed."


Jonathan Bonadio, Senior Policy Advisor at SolarPower Europe said; “Solar and biodiversity protection go hand-in-hand, and the versatility of solar is a key enabler for citizen energy participation. This statement is a key tool to accelerate sustainable solar deployment.”


About BirdLife

BirdLife Europe & Central Asia works to conserve birds and biodiversity by focusing on species, sites and habitats, ecological sustainability and engagement of people. Based in Brussels, we are supported by 45 Partners from 44 countries, including in all EU Member states.​


About CEE Bankwatch Network

The CEE Bankwatch Network is today the largest network of grassroots environmental groups in central and eastern Europe and a leading force in preventing dubious public investments that harm the planet and people’s well-being in this region and beyond.


About Climate Action Network 

Climate Action Network (CAN) Europe is Europe’s leading NGO coalition fighting dangerous climate change. With around 200 member organisations active in 38 European countries, representing over 1,500 NGOs and more than 47 million citizens, CAN Europe promotes sustainable climate, energy and development policies throughout Europe. 


About European Environmental Bureau

The European Environmental Bureau (EEB) is Europe’s largest network of environmental citizens' organisations. It brings together 180 member organisations from 38 countries, standing for sustainable development, environmental justice & participatory democracy. 


About EuroNatur

EuroNatur is a Non-Governmental Organisation working to connect nature and people in a peaceful Europe. EuroNatur works to find solutions to change the ongoing degradation of nature and drastic climate change caused by the overexploitation of natural resources. EuroNatur’s aim is a Europe that hosts free-flowing rivers, pristine forests and diverse cultural landscapes, offering sufficient space for wild animals to thrive while people live in harmony with nature.  

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Bethany Meban
Senior Press and Communications Advisor

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